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Action period: 01.03.2019-31.08.2021.

Project Manager: Lemettinen Outi
Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture (special subsidy)
Project implemented by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Summary

The SIMHE Continuation project aims to develop an integrated career guidance and Finnish language-learning model to improve international degree students’ employability in Finland. Elements of the model will also be adapted to other student groups of an international background and to other immigrants. In addition, the project includes an evaluation of the experiences and practices of SIMHE activities (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland), run nationwide in Finland since 2016. 

The project expands the target group of SIMHE activities to include degree students in higher education institutions with international or immigrant backgrounds. Studies show that despite their interest to work in Finland, becoming employed is challenging for international degree students. Progressing in studies can also be challenging for international students especially due to lacking language skills. According to a 2016 study by the University of Jyväskylä, higher education institutions do not offer enough Finnish language courses. It is therefore necessary to develop a comprehensive model, which takes into account both language learning and professional development as well as networking activities. Targeted support is needed starting from the beginning of studies. The developed model will be disseminated to other higher education institutions as well.

So far SIMHE activities have mainly been evaluated on the basis of numbers of participants and customer feedback. What is lacking is analysis from the point of view of Finnish higher education policies and immigrants’ integration. The project will compile an evaluation report on the impact of SIMHE activities, with the purpose of further developing the operations in Finland.

Impact / Results

SIMHE Continuation project will produce a career guidance and Finnish language-learning model. The model will visualise the support process of career guidance and language learning for international degree students, covering the whole extent of studies. These activities aim to improve the integration of international degree students during their studies in Finland as well as to enhance their employment in Finland after graduation. Other higher education institutions can apply the model as well.

The second outcome of the project is a publication evaluating the SIMHE activities. The evaluation aims to improve national procedures and services in higher education institutions involved in SIMHE activities.

Finally, the project activities include organising a SIMHE gala in December 2020. The purpose of the event is to distribute the results of the national SIMHE activities.